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Accrued Vacation and Sick Leave as a Marital Asset in a Divorce Case in Colorado

By James S. Margulis, Esq.

The Supreme Court of Colorado recently decided a case to determine whether accrued vacation and sick leave may be considered marital property subject to division pursuant to the Colorado Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act. The name of the case is In re the Marriage of Cardona and Castro.

The Court held that where a spouse has an enforceable right to be paid for accrued vacation or sick leave, such accrued leave earned during the marriage is marital property.

Further, where the value of such leave at the time of the dissolution of marriage can be reasonably ascertained, it is subject to equitable division between the spouses. However, when the value of such leave at the time of dissolution cannot be reasonably ascertained, the Court should consider the employee spouse's right to such leave as an economic circumstance of the parties when equitably dividing the marital estate.

In this specific case, the Court concluded that the trial court erred in considering the value of the spouse's accrued leave as part of the marital estate because no competent evidence was presented to establish that the spouse had an enforceable right to payment for such leave.

In essence, if the leave accrued during the marriage and can be valued at the time of dissolution, then the leave should be equitably divided between the parties. If the leave accrued during the marriage, but cannot be valued at the time of dissolution, it should still be considered as part and parcel of the overall equitable division of the marital assets and liabilities.

It is critical that one protect and receive all of the assets they are entitled to in a dissolution of marriage proceeding.

For all of your domestic law needs, please contact the Domestic Team at Feldmann & Nagel, LLC.

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